Does your back hurt? Is it from carrying the weight of 2022, as the joke goes? Or is it a structural problem involving ligaments and discs? Either way, we are heading into a new year, and as such, it is time to lighten the proverbial load.

Here are some things I am choosing to leave in 2022.

Negativity. Well, not all negativity. I’m definitely taking some negativity into the new year, but it seems healthy to leave a little behind. Like, 20%. Maybe 12%? I already feel lighter! Wait, can I have, like 5% back? It’s just, I’m giving up a lot of equity here. STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY NEGATIVITY, I NEED THAT FOR LATER.

Fear. But only fear of stupid things, like inviting the wrong mix of people to a party or being seen in the bra department at Kohl’s. I maintain a certain amount of fear is productive, an evolutionary asset that exists to keep us alive and functioning in society. I shall carry fear of deadly illness, bodily injury and total democratic collapse boldly into 2023.

Denim trends. Friends age 35 and beyond, I say to you, the time to stop trying has come and gone. The jeans are going to look wrong no matter what, so just buy the ones that fit and make you feel good. Because while you may head into the dressing room striving for relaxed, modern and trendy, in the end you will look like an extra from the 1992 music video for Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.”

Names of the famous young people. Sorry! Yung Gravy took the last slot! There’s no more room in this hippocampus!

Food waste. Every year, I vow with all sincerity to throw away less food, and every year I end up scraping old Tupperware containers free of moldy rigatoni and extracting wet, black cilantro from the back 40 of the fridge. But this. This will be my year! You see, I have watched countless hours of TikTok influencers chopping, washing, spin-drying and properly storing produce so that it gets used throughout the week instead of languishing forgotten in a drawer like an herbaceous, diseased Jabberwocky. I am fully prepared to ASMR my way into responsible food deployment and reasonable portion control. I will not cook for a family of teenage sextuplet linebackers when only two people are home. I will not! I will be a healthy steward of the planet bathed in pure ring light.

Crypto. This is easy because I never possessed any cryptocurrency to begin with. But all signs point to the era of lubed-up celebrities telling us to buy Dogecoin during the Super Bowl coming to a merciful end. This bodes well for those of us still saving the old-fashioned way: in a paper bag under the (redacted) in the third (redacted) of the (redacted).

Further opinions on the Will Smith/Chris Rock slap. Oh, they will try. Will Smith will tearfully apologize for the 23rd time and go into more detail about his personal spiritual journey, probably right before the Oscars in the spring. I expect an entire commemorative “Red Table Talk” episode. Chris Rock will release a new standup special with 16 minutes devoted to the incident, wrapping in concepts of celebrity cancellation and more Cthulhu-esque sociopolitical tentacles. Then he will say something cancel-worthy, and a new cycle will begin. The think pieces will emerge like Critters from an alien prison transport vessel. Despite these very words, this very promise to form no more opinions on the matter with my limited brain space (see: Yung Gravy), I will read every essay and spiral further into self-loathing. Which leads me to the last action item to leave behind this year.

Self-loathing. Maybe. I don’t know. Probably not.

Stephanie Hayes is a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her at @stephhayes on Twitter or @stephrhayes on Instagram.

Photo credit: nck_gsl at Pixabay